We recently took family photos, so today I wanted to share some tips for choosing your own outfits for fall family photos!
What to Wear for Fall Family Photos
Jenny Bosak took our photos for the third time and she worked her magic yet again! I love how she uses natural light and her ability to coax out genuine smiles from the kids is simply incredible. I highly recommend hiring her if you’re in the DC area! We signed up for one of her mini sessions and these photos were taken at Jones Point Park in Alexandria, Virginia.
I had an easy time figuring out what put all of us in for our previous two years of photos, but this year proved to be a challenge and it came down to the wire! I found my dress the day before our photos and found the girls’ dresses (white dress (big girl sizes), burnt orange dress) the morning of. I feel like it’s pretty easy to find something for the boys to wear because khakis and a white button down with a pullover works for pretty much all photos, but it’s a bit tricker for the girls.
Below are my tips for selecting outfits for family photos, and if you’re looking for tips on how to take better family photos (and get good photos of your children) then head to this blog post from 2 years ago!
How to Choose Outfits for Family Photos
- Think about where your photos are going to be taken. If it’s woodsy or out in nature then more casual outfits can work, but if it’s an urban area or a landmark then you can easily go for a dressier look! Last year we took photos at the US Capitol so that was our chance to take formal photos, but this year and 2 years ago we were in greener and more woodsy locations so we went for slightly more casual dressy looks- if that makes sense.
- I always like to choose my dress first because it really sets the tone for the photos. Then once I have my outfit I’m able to choose what the kids will wear. Plan what mom will wear first and then that helps you narrow it down for the children and your spouse. A maxi dress (I’m now obsessed with Anthropologie’s Somerset dress) and a nice pair of boots will work under most circumstances!
- If you have more than one boy or more than one girl, plan coordinated outfits, and not matching outfits. I love a good matching sibling photo but by giving them each their own outfits it adds dimension to the photos and helps them stand out as individuals. Choose colors that compliment each other that are not matchy matchy. For my girls, I selected 3 options for each of them (all in the same coordinated tones- here is a solid mustard dress I offered and a cute patterned dress) and then they got to choose what felt right to them. This helps them feel like they have a little say in the process, while you still get to maintain control and the overall look of the photos.
- Don’t feel like you need to shop at expensive places for family photo outfits! Jack’s khakis are from Walmart, his shoes are from Carter’s, the girls’ dresses are from Target, and their cute brown oxfords and bows (I prefer 4.5″ size) are from Amazon.
- Go simple on accessories. I prefer simple gold hoops and the necklace I never take off as my jewelry,
- Avoid outfits that are too dark. To each their own, of course, but I think that black clothing on little kids can look quite harsh and a little morbid. If you want to go for a darker vibe, consider wearing navy instead. It’s classic and not quite so intense. I love a good black dress but likely will never wear one for family photos. I’m also not crazy about true red in family photos and think that that color can make family photos look a tad cheesy.
- Get your kids dressed in the car (or a restroom) once you arrive for photos. I feel like this is the easiest way to avoid wrinkling and getting food/drinks/slobber on their clothes while in transit. Just plan ahead and get to your location with enough time to change first. Bring a brush to smooth out everyone’s hair right before you start.
- Invest in a quality pair of brown leather boots for yourself and you’ll be set for years to come. I’ve owned my pair of heeled knee high boots since 2020 and I love wearing them with dresses. They are comfortable and easy to walk in, and they add nice sophistication and depth to an outfit. The current version of this style is a little different from mine, but they are still just as beautiful. They run true to size.
- Try to choose an outfit for your husband that makes sense for him…within reason. If your husband only wears t-shirts then now is the time to ask him to up his game a bit for photos, but throwing him in a suit and tie may not make sense. Help him choose something he will feel comfortable in that he will hopefully wear again. For example, Tom is a great dresser and wears a jacket and nice pants and shoes to work everyday. He enjoys that type of clothing and it’s what he feels comfortable in, as far as dressing up goes. I think a sweater or pullover layered over a button down shirt may have fit nicely with our outfits here, but that’s not something he would naturally wear or feel comfortable in, so having him wear his jacket, pants, and shoes that he already owns and loves made the most sense. He did wear a sweater and boot-like shoes for photos a couple of years ago, but those two items have sat unused since then, so they probably didn’t make the most sense for a guy like him.
- If your child has a wardrobe “issue” (which is what Caroline started calling her clothing drama a couple of years ago), remind them that photos will be over quickly and they can change into whatever they want once they’re finished. I know that Caroline hates ruffles, which is why she chose this dress out of the 3 presented to her, and even though she loved the dress and was totally fine with wearing it, she still had a wardrobe freakout when we showed up for photos. We told her she could change back into her leggings and tank top as soon as we finished, so she held it together and changed as soon as we were finished.
Below, I’ve rounded up some fall maxi dresses if you’re looking for some ideas (ranging from Amazon to Tuckernuck in price), and I’ve also put together a collage of our outfits in case you’d like links to those outfits (a collage always helps if you’re trying to plan how everything will look together).
Some more of our favorite photos are below!